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Manly, yes, but

[Originally published 1996 |
Updated here 1999.06.20

Now that you’ve ingested my stream-of-encomium to l’homme Graffin et Mauvaise Réligion (if you haven’t actually read it, do so this instant), time for a contrary opinion. Yes, from the same source. I am rarely driven by such a strong sense of ambivalence. I guess this goes to show that even a hoary old punk-rock band like Bad Religion can evoke thought-provoking contradictions.

BACKGROUND: The other day I was scouting Toronto’s disagreeable and tawdry record district for the coveted German import single "Punk-Rock Song," which apparently features Herr Graffin singing in actual German. Of course, I came up empty-handed. For those of you who haven’t heard it, "Punk-Rock Song" is an example of metapop (pop that talks about itself and/or other pop) that takes a decidedly apocalyptic tack:

Have you lived the experience? Have you witnessed the plague?
People making babies sometimes just to escape
In this land of competition, the compassion is gone, yet we ignore the needy and we keep pushing on...
This is just a punk-rock song, written for the people who can see something’s wrong.

Gosh, how cheery. By stunning coincidence, while getting the hell away from the disagreeable, tawdry record district, I passed by a pinball arcade that was blasting the Bad Religion opus "10 in 2010":

Parched, cracked mouths, empty swollen guts
Sun-baked pavement encroaches on us
Haves and have-nots together at last, brutally engaged in mortal combat...
What kind of God [sic] orchestrates such a thing?
Ten billion people all suffering
Truth is not an issue, just hungry mouths to feed
Forget what you want. Scrounge the things you need.

So, dear readers, after weeks of percolating thoughts, it was in the shadow of this entrenched apocalypsism that I came up with my hitlist of reservations about Bad Religion (really, about Greg). Yes, I’m painting with a wide brush here, but this is not an ad hominem attack, nor does it constitute destructive criticism. I’m working from a vantage point akin to Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – committed to the idea of Bad Religion, but concerned about creating a better Bad Religion. A Good Religion, almost.